An Unshakable Kingdom Awaits

Introduction

Recap of what we’ve been discussing so far throughout Hebrews:

  • At each turn, the author has been wanting to highlight the greater choice in Jesus and the New Covenant
  • His efforts to inspire and encourage the Hebrew audience from giving up and shrinking back are coming to a conclusion.
  • He provides contrasts to the Old Covenant and the New time and time again. Each is a no-brainer, but is always left in their court.
  • It is here the author references a unforgettable scene in the giving of the law at Mt.Sinai where he gives his last contrast of Old and New Covenants.

Sermon Purpose

My hope is to dig into the authors contrast of the Mount Sinai and Mount Zion and then to give three practicals on how we should live due the receiving of an unshakable kingdom.

Sermon Context

According to our author, Esau was both immoral and ungodly. He was unlike those who were people of faith and looked for God’s blessings after their death.

  • Esau was a man who did not believe in what he could not see
  • The spiritual blessings which accompanied the birthright of the firstborn were “unseen” future promises
  • The bowl of stew was something he could see, and smell, and if he traded his birthright for it
  • Esau’s immorality was yet another evidence of his desire for present, physical pleasure, as opposed to delayed divine blessings.

Please Read Hebrews 12:18-29

Points of Contrast

  • Mount Sinai is something like Jacob’s stew
    • The revelation of God to Israel at Mount Sinai was seen, heard, smelled, and felt.
    • The law was given for Israel’s enjoyment of an earthly kingdom.
    • Judaism clung to Sinai, Moses, and the Old Covenant because it seemed to offer more of an immediate and more visible kingdom.
  • Mount Zion is like Esau’s birthright
    • The birthright and its blessings were vastly better, but these were future and unseen.
    • Represents a spiritual city (heavenly Jerusalem) and a spiritual kingdom.
    • It represents all that Christians hope for in the next life and that for which we are willing to make great sacrifices in this life.
  • Just like Esau, the readers of this epistles need to choose between a present, earthly kingdom with its earthly temple, or God’s promised eternal kingdom.
    • The author does not want to minimize the impact of the sights and sounds of Sinai.
    • It was spectacular and an incredible display of God.
      • the mountain was so holy because of its proximity to God
      • there was a fire, dark clouds, earthquakes, and trumpet blasts

Points the Writer Wants Us to Grasp

  • The sensory events accompanying the giving of the law were numerous, spectacular, and impressive.
  • In spite of the immediate impact on the Israelites, it did not produce faith or obedience.
  • It wasn’t long after this that they murmured and grumbled and rebelled against God.
  • While they were still at the base of Mount Sinai and Moses was still on the mountain, they had Aaron fashion a golden calf (Exodus 32)
  • the Israelites were blown away by the display on the Mountain, it produced fear and a desire to obey, but it quickly faded.
  • As it faded, they were looking for another “visual” to spur them on towards worship and faithfulness.

Our Need for Visuals

  • We love visuals.
    • We love impressive fireworks displays on the 4th of July. The bigger the better.
  • We’re inspired by great productions whether fireworks, movies, theater, or any type of production.
    • They capture us for a time, but then it fades.
    • We look for our next moment to be inspired.
  • Like Esau, and like the Israelites we can have a fear, a faith, and a desire to obey as we see God’s displays in our lives.
    • Is our faith and obedience based on off of what you’ve seen God do lately?
    • Must God continually answer prayers, come through in an area of need to spur you on towards an unshakable life?
    • Easy for us to want the sights and sounds of God doing big things to keep us faithful and obedient
    • To live from one display of Gods power to another without truly resting on the unseen
    • We can even approach worship and church like this:
      • We live from service to service…quiet time to quiet time.
      • I’m inspired by church, but then I go and live my life the way I want.
      • I’m inspired by what I read or said in prayer, but it doesn’t last.

We can live our lives for the seen rather than the unseen. We are dependent and feel entitled to displays of God’s power to keep us faithful.

  • Do we require this of God to be faithful?
  • Do we approach church and his kingdom with a “show me” attitude?

We have come to Mount Zion!

Look at the characteristics of this mountain. The contrast between Mount Sanai and Mount Zion is rich and inspiring!

  • Zion is the city of the living God; the heavenly Jerusalem
    • we have already been told that Abraham and others in the hall of faith were not looking for an earthly city, but a heavenly one.
    • a place where all the fears, mysteries, separations and life itself will be made new.
  • Angels in joyful assembly
    • this is in contrast to the angels that attended God on Mount Sinai (Deut 33:2)
      • everyone will be breaking out into joyful assembly.
  • The firstborn will be there
    • the inheritance and honor of the first born are waiting there.
  • Names written in heaven: kings kept a register of all his faithful citizens.
    • “Rejoice that your names are written in heaven” – Luke 10:20
    • who names are inscribed in the “Lamb’s book of life” – Revelation 21:27
  • Come to God, the Judge of All
    • God is present at Mount Zion as well. Revelation 4:5 -“from the throne came out flashes of lightning and roaring and crashes of thunder.”
      • this same holiness prompted the Israelites to shrink back in fear.
      • at Mount Zion the Father’s wrath has been satisfied by the sacrifice of the Son. – Revelation 4:9
  • The spirits of the righteous made perfect – once the encircled cloud of witnesses will now be apart of that company.
    • We go to join whose names are on God’s roll of honor.
  • Come to Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood
    • you come to Jesus who initiated this new covenant.
      • He made the unapproachable, approachable.
      • He did this through his own blood.
        • When Abel was slain, his blood called for vengeance (Gen 4:10)
        • When Jesus was slain, His blood opened up the doors of reconciliation.
          • It called for forgiveness, mercy, and peace.
    • People once lived in terror of the law
      • The relationship between them and God was one of unbridgeable distance and shuddering fear.

Practical Points – Conclusion

1) Develop an Unshakable Stare

  • You Need Deep Convictions
    • Don’t allow yourself to get off target
    • Learn to make great decisions about what is trivial and what is worthwhile.
      • why invest in what will not last?
      • why live for a kingdom that will not exist?
        • Esau and the Israelites highlight what happens when we live for a “shakable” kingdom
          do not be more enamored by the sights, smells, tastes, and sounds of the world and/or religion than living for the promises of the kingdom to come.
  • What are you investing in?
    • Whose kingdom are you seeking? (Matthew 6:33)
    • Is there anything that is shaking your focus off of what is to come?

We look ahead with a unshakable stare, because God promised us an unshakable kingdom.

2) Develop Unshakable Devotion

Hebrews calls us to worship with reverence and awe.

  • Mt.Sinai was an incredible display of God’s holiness.
    • It is no different in the unshakable kingdom.
    • The Israelites were fearful at the words of the law.
      • The word of God is intense and powerful.
  • There is an appropriate fear we should have in regards to God’s holiness and His word
    • How do you approach God in your lives?
      • Is it casual, haphazard, or flippant?
  • How do you regard reading God’s Word and your times of prayer?
  • How do you respond when the word of God is preached?
    • Do you assess your willingness to obey by another standard other than “God said it, so I’m going to do it?”

Its easy for me to lose my sense of appreciation for worship, and reading God’s word. I lose the conviction of how incredible it is to have the word of God so accessible. To have the creator of the universe, who was present on Mt.Sinai, to be attentively listening to my prayers.

In the unshakable kingdom, only what is unshakable will remain.

  • Our relationship with God is all that will remain after God shakes things up.
    • If this is all that you will possess, how important is it to you? to God?

3) Develop Unshakable Gratitude

  • We should be grateful to receive an unshakable kingdom and all that comes with it.
  • Hebrews 12:24 – Jesus’ sprinkled blood speaks a better word.
    • reconciliation
    • forgiveness
    • peace.
  • Thankfulness and gratitude gauge our focus.
    • Are we grateful to be apart of this kingdom?
    • Are we appreciative of the blood that reconciles and continues to mediate for us?
  • In light of the contrast of Mt.Sinai and Mt.Zion, we no longer need to approach God with solely fear and trembling, but with an unshakable joy.

 

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